As characters go, John Brady was one of life’s greats.
The hugely popular 77-year-old businessman, or ‘Gunner’ as he was fondly remembered, passed away last Monday following a brave battle with illness.
Huge crowds from right across Cavan and the midlands region attended both his removal and Funeral Mass at St Joseph’s Church, Loughduff just a matter of miles from the family home in nearby Drumcor.
A proud family man first and foremost, the father of seven was born in August 1935 into a family of 13.
Like many others from the Mullahoran parish, John attended primary school in Loughduff before going onto Moyne Community School to further his education, thanks in no small way to his trusty bicycle-a mode of transport for which he later became synonymous with.
Soon after, the opportunity of a securing a place in the Gardai came calling, an opening which led to John obtaining a place in Templemore.
But it would be an altogether different career choice that would define the next half century of John’s everyday working life.
Set on a career in the public service, a visit to the Brady family door during the mid 50s by Sligo man Bill Henry changed all that.
Clearly struck by the chance to work as an insurance representative, John plumped for a stint with Cavan based firm, General Accident Insurance.
And as his son, Ciaran told sympathisers at last Thursday’s Funeral Mass, it wasn’t long before John started peddling his way to even greater accomplishments.
“He cycled the country selling insurance and then sometime later he upgraded to a motorbike,” he told mourners.
“A few years later he bought his first car, a Volkswagen beetle, that same beetle that himself and my mother and seven kids used to fit into. Who said there wasn’t nine seaters in those days?”
By 1961, the then 26-year-old broker met and married Cornafean woman, Nancy Reilly.
The couple set up home on a farm of land in Drumcor before building a second home in 1973, which would ultimately become the family residence.
Four daughters (Martina, Colette, Caroline and Annemarie) and three sons (Danny, Ciaran and Sean) later, John had by now branched out on his own, setting up the suitably named John Brady Insurance Ltd.
Away from work and hailing from a family steeped in sporting tradition, it wasn’t long before John started making a name for himself on the local GAA scene.
“One of his proudest moments was when he captained Mullahoran to win the senior championship in 1963,” said Ciaran, with John’s two brothers Danny and Fr Jim also in the starting XV.
A renowned referee, also John managed to pick up several honours as well as officiating at inter-county level.
“He was hard working, strong, loving, and gentle when he needed to be, “ said Ciaran “He loved his family and was deeply devoted to our mother. Although our father may never have said it out loud,we knew that he was truly proud of his seven kids and the way we all have grown up.
“He was delighted to have had the opportunity to walk his four daughters up the aisle and he was just as delighted he got to see my two brothers and myself jump ship also. As children we always looked forward to his childhood friends, coming over to the house.”
And in a final tribute to his beloved father, Ciaran movingly remarked on both his family’s behalf: “Daddy, we are proud of you and all that you were. We are mostly proud to say this one thing- Of all that you were, you were our father. May you Rest in Peace.”
The late John Brady is survived by his loving wife, Nancy and children Danny, Martina, Colette, Ciaran, Caroline, Annmarie, and Sean, sisters Molly, Rose, Maggie, Teresa and brothers Danny, Tony, and Fr. Jim, (Kiltegan) and extended family relatives and friends.
See also page 22